Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Site Responsive

On Sunday, I trotted along to Marc Straus Gallery for the opening reception for Jong Oh's show. The Korean artist creates sculptures that plays off the space and light of a site. "Tenuous strings and shards of Plexiglas are pulled into form by small stones or metal pendulums tied almost invisibly to the 21-foot high ceiling," as the gallery website puts it. The sculptures were mostly boxy, either backed by a wall or hanging freely in space. Most impressive was the last work. Two rectangles made of string are suspended one on top of the other. Due to their subtly shaded coloration, they looked like pieces of glass. Walking under them gave me a terrifically uneasy feeling. The show was curated by gallery director Ken Tan.

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On Monday, GH and I went to the Asia Society to hear architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien speak about their building of Asia Society Hong Kong. They transformed the Former Explosives Magazine Compound into a gleaming modern center for arts and culture. To avoid endangering the fruit bats native to the site, they angled their link-bridge into the shape of an elbow. The discussion was moderated by Alice Mong, the Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong. Asked about their complementarity as creators, Billie characterized Tod as restless and impatient of constraints whereas she was for the stillness and shelter within walls. The new Vice-President of Arts and Cultural Programming at NYC"s Asia Society, Tan Boon Hui, introduced the speakers with panache and concision. The hall on the eighth floor sat about 100 people. It was filled and additional chairs were added to the back. The event was webcast live.


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